The conservation laws do not establish the central premise within the argument from causal overdetermination – the causal completeness of the physical domain. Contrary to David Papineau, this is true even if there is no non-physical energy. The combination of the conservation laws with the claim that there is no non-physical energy would establish the causal completeness principle only if, at the very least, two further causal claims were accepted. First, the claim that the only way that something non-physical could (...) affect a physical system is by affecting the amount of energy or momentum within it, or redistributing the energy and momentum within it. Second, the claim that redistribution of energy and momentum cannot be brought about without supplying energy or momentum. Both of these claims, however, are exceedingly difficult to defend in the context of the argument. (shrink)
Mental causation has been a hotly disputed topic in recent years, with reductive and non-reductive physicalists vying with each other and with dualists over how to accommodate, or else to challenge, two widely accepted metaphysical principles—the principle of the causal closure of the physical domain and the principle of causal non-overdetermination—which together appear to support reductive physicalism, despite the latter’s lack of intuitive appeal. Current debate about these matters appears to have reached something of an impasse, prompting the question of (...) why this should be so. One possibility well worth exploring is that, while this debate makes extensive use of ontological vocabulary—by talking, for instance, of substances, events, states, properties, powers, and relations—relatively little attempt has been made within the debate itself to achieve either clarity or agreement about what, precisely, such terms should be taken to mean. Hence, the debate has become somewhat detached from broader developments in metaphysics and ontology, which have lately been proceeding apace, providing us with an increasingly rich and refined set of ontological categories upon which to draw, as well as a much deeper understanding of how they are related to one another. In preparing this volume, the editors invited leading metaphysicians and philosophers of mind to reflect afresh upon the problem of mental causation in the light of some of these recent developments, with a view to making new headway with one of the most challenging and seemingly intractable issues in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
Despite the fact that Davidson's theory of the causal relata is crucial to his response to the problem of mental causation - that of anomalous monism - it is commonly overlooked within discussions of his position. Anomalous monism is accused of entailing property epiphenomenalism, but given Davidson's understanding of the causal relata, such accusations are wholly misguided. There are, I suggest, two different forms of property epiphenomenalism. The first understands the term 'property' in an ontological sense, the second in a (...) linguistic sense. Anomalous monism cannot plausibly be accused of either. The first cannot legitimately be applied to anomalous monism as it is incompatible with Davidson's ontology. And accusations of predicate epiphenomenalism, although consistent with Davidson's ontology, are ungrounded regarding Davidson's anomalous monism. Philosophers of mind have mislocated the problem with Davidson's anomalous monism, which in fact lies with the implausible theory of the causal relata upon which it rests. (shrink)
In the contemporary mental causation debate, two dualist models of psychophysical causal relevance have been proposed which entail that although mental events are causally relevant in the physical domain, this is not in virtue of them causing any physical event. It is widely assumed that the principle of the causal completeness of the physical domain provides a general argument against interactive dualism. But, whether the completeness principle presents a problem for these alternative forms of interactive dualism is questionable. In this (...) paper, focusing on the popular no-gap argument for the completeness principle, I explore one reason why. (shrink)
This book explores a range of traditional and contemporary metaphysical themes that figure in the writings of E. J. Lowe, whose powerful and influential work was still developing at the time of his death in 2015. Leading philosophers present new essays on topics to do with ontology, necessity, existence, and mental causation.
According to the partial identity account of resemblance, exact resemblance is complete identity and inexact resemblance is partial identity. In this paper, I examine Arda Denkel's (1998) argument that this account of resemblance is logically incoherent as it results in a vicious regress. I claim that although Denkel's argument does not succeed, a modified version of it leads to the conclusion that the partial identity account is plausible only if the constituents of every determinate property are ultimately quantitative in nature.
Given Kim’s principle of explanatory exclusion (EE), it follows that in addition to the problem of mental causation, dualism faces a problem of mental explanation. However, the plausibility of EE rests upon the acceptance of a further principle concerning the individuation of explanation (EI). The two methods of defending EI—either by combining an internal account of the individuation of explanation with a semantical account of properties or by accepting an external account of the individuation of explanation—are both metaphysically implausible. This (...) is not, however, to reject the problem of mental explanation, for EE can be replaced with a far weaker principle, which does not require the acceptance of EI, but which generates a similar problem for dualism. (shrink)
Closure is the central premise in one of the best arguments for physicalism—the argument from causal overdetermination. According to Closure, at every time at which a physical event has a sufficient cause, it has a sufficient physical cause. This principle is standardly defended by appealing to the fact that it enjoys empirical support from numerous confirming cases (and no disconfirming cases) in physics. However, in recent literature on mental causation, attempts have been made to provide a stronger argument for it. (...) This essay argues that, insofar as these attempts are successful, they actually establish a far stronger closure principle. Worryingly, the acceptance of this stronger principle presents a new problem for the most popular form of physicalism, that of nonreductive physicalism. The problem shall be referred to as the 'Problem of Strong Closure.'. (shrink)
Proponents of the subset account of property realization commonly make the assumption that the summing of properties entails the summing of their forward-looking causal features. This paper seeks to establish that this assumption is false. Moreover, it aims to demonstrate that without this assumption the fact that the subset account captures an entailment relation—which it must if it is to be of any use to non-reductive physicalism—becomes questionable.
Emergence is often described as the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts: interactions among the components of a system lead to distinctive novel properties. It has been invoked to describe the flocking of birds, the phases of matter and human consciousness, along with many other phenomena. Since the nineteenth century, the notion of emergence has been widely applied in philosophy, particularly in contemporary philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and metaphysics. It has more recently (...) become central to scientists' understanding of phenomena across physics, chemistry, complexity and systems theory, biology and the social sciences. The Routledge Handbook of Emergence is an outstanding reference source and exploration of the concept of emergence, and is the first collection of its kind. Thirty-two chapters by an international team of contributors are organised into four parts: Foundations of emergence Emergence and mind Emergence and physics Emergence and the special sciences Within these sections important topics and problems in emergence are explained, including the British Emergentists; weak vs. strong emergence; emergence and downward causation; dependence, complexity and mechanisms; mental causation, consciousness and dualism; quantum mechanics, soft matter and chemistry; and evolution, cognitive science and social sciences. Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and metaphysics, The Routledge Handbook of Emergence will also be of interest to those studying foundational issues in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology. (shrink)
I defend a dualist model of psychophysical causal relevance, according to which mental events are not causes in the physical domain, but are causally relevant in this domain because they enable — or, in other words, provide the appropriate structure for — physical events to be caused. More specifically, I defend the claim that mental events are ‘double preventers’ within the physical domain, where double preventers are a type of enabling event. The distinction that I make between causes and enabling (...) events and the dualist model of psychophysical causal relevance that I defend has emerged from my acceptance of the powers theory of causation. In this paper, I explore how this dualist model of psychophysical causal relevance offers a response to Papineau’s defence of the causal completeness principle via the conservation laws. (shrink)
Le Poidevin has recently presented an argument that gives rise to a serious problem for relationist theories of space. It appeals to the simple geometrical fact that if A, B and C are three points lying in a straight line, then AB and BC together entail AC. He suggests that an ontological relationship of supervenience must be appealed to to explain this entailment. Given this thesis of supervenience, relationism is implausible. I argue that the problem that Le Poidevin raises for (...) relationism should be rejected, because the thesis of supervenience is false. The latter rests upon what Le Poidevin refers to as ‘The explanatory principle', a principle which he claims to be a natural extension of the truthmaker principle. Contrary to this, I argue that given any plausible theory of truthmaking, the explanatory principle is false. With the rejection of this principle, Le Poidevin's argument against relationism collapses. (shrink)
According to one popular criterion of property identity, where X and Y are properties, X is identical with Y if and only if X and Y bestow the same conditional powers on their bearers. In this paper, I argue that this causal criterion of property identity is unsatisfactory, because it fails to provide a sufficient condition for the identification of properties. My argument for this claim is based on the observation that the summing of properties does not entail the summing (...) of the conditional powers that they bestow on an object, but, rather, in some cases their subtraction. If so, the following causal structure seems possible: There are two properties, A and B. Each bestows a different set of conditional powers on its bearer, but the conjunctive property A-and-B bestows exactly the same set of conditional powers as either A or B. If this causal structure is possible, then it creates a serious problem for the causal criterion of property identity. (shrink)
The Mind in Nature has two central aims. First, that of defending a ‘basic ontology’. Second, having advanced a plausible ontological framework, to appeal to it to cast light on the status of intentionality and the nature of consciousness, paying particular attention to the question of what distinguishes conscious systems from those that are vegetative.Central to Martin's basic ontology is his acceptance of a realist conception of dispositionality. Contrary to the view of David Lewis and others, talk about a thing's (...) dispositions cannot be analysed as talk about a thing's behaviour in a set of counterfactual circumstances . The account of dispositions that emerges from Martin's discussion is one according to which a specific disposition is either actual or it is not. To be actual a disposition need not be manifesting any manifestation. Unmanifesting dispositions are not, therefore, unactualized possibilia – a description which, he observes, is more fitting of unmanifested manifestations . In advancing a realist conception of dispositionality, Martin also opposes those who maintain that dispositional properties reduce to …. (shrink)
This book presents engaging and informative analysis of three interrelated notions, namely: selfhood, the first person pronoun ‘I’ and the first person perspective. Philosophers have long debated about these notions on non-empirical grounds often focusing on the question of whether the first person pronoun ‘I’, beyond its role as a grammatical term, has an underlying implication for the ontology of selfhood. Philosophers continuously grapple with whether the first person pronoun ‘I’ is a referring expression and if it is, what its (...) referent is or could be. To give an adequate treatment of such questions, philosophers have begun working across the relevant disciplines. This book highlights some excellent examples of the complex nature of the first person thoughts as they figure in linguistics, autism, thought insertion in schizophrenia and the phenomenon of mental autonomy. In Selfhood, Autism and Thought Insertion, many of the leading philosophers working on this issue, as well as a few emerging scholars, have written 12 new essays addressing questions besetting the ontology of selfhood. The essays address topics as diverse as reflections on E. J. Lowe’s non-Cartesian substance dualism, physical determinism, the metaphysics and anti-metaphysics of the self, animalism, neo-Lockean persons, rationality and the first-person, whether the first person is essentially a linguistic concept, first-person and third-person perspectives and autism, consciousness, first person perspective and neuroimaging, thought insertion and mental autonomy. The contributors to this volume do not agree in all of the details associated with the notion of selfhood, yet they all have a common conviction that the central questions besetting it must be taken seriously. (shrink)